Korea Republic have commenced their tilt at redemption on a strong footing with a deserved 3-1 win over South American challengers Uruguay in Kaduna. Their steely approach throughout the match suggests the Koreans are focussed on putting the disappointment of a first-round exit as host nation in 2007 behind them. The first match for Uruguay against an Asian opponent at the FIFA U-17 World Cup proved to be unprofitable with the South Americans slumping to their sixth consecutive loss at this level.
Korea Republic started brightly, showing both determination and slickness in attack and it wasn't long before the Asian representatives were rewarded for their endeavour. Jong-Ho Lee delivered a deadly pass to Seung-Woo Nam, who found himself unmarked in front of goal to score with ease. Minutes later Uruguay should have scored the equaliser when they had a three-against-one situation, but Gonzalo Barreto failed to beat the Korean keeper from close range. The Asians were not to be deterred and could have claimed a crucial second, Jong-Ho Lee's free-kick from 22 yards slammed against the left post.
Inspired by playmaker Sebastian Gallegos, the Uruguayans came out for the second half displaying a renewed sense of purpose. Their efforts paid off on the hour mark when Adrian Luna was fouled in the penalty area, with Gallegos stepping up to convert from the penalty spot. Korea Republic wasted no time putting an end to parity, scoring again to regain the lead in a decisive moment in the match. A 35-metre free kick aimed for the head of Jong-Ho Lee was deflected by the wall and fell to Heung-Min Son, who found the net from close range.
South Korea largely spent the remainder of the match attacking on the counter with one such raid resulting in Jong-Ho Lee hitting the crossbar and another seeing Seung-Woo Nam strike the post. The Asian runners-up confirmed their win during injury time when Jong-Ho Lee scored with a left-footed drive from eleven metres.